Hispanic heritage acquisitions: Justice for Salcido

Justice for Salcido, by Guy Endore (1948)
October 6, 2015

Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to October 15) is an opportunity to highlight a number of recent acquisitions. First up is Justice for Salcido (1948) by Guy Endore (1901-1970), a novelist and screenwriter best known for his 1933 novel The Werewolf of Paris and his Oscar-nominated screenplay for The Story of G.I. Joe (1945). Endore was also active in left-wing politics.

Justice for Salcido is a protest against the killing of an unarmed Mexican teenager by a Los Angeles police officer. The Civil Rights Congress of Los Angeles published it to raise funds for legal costs and to rally community support. We acquired both the published pamphlet and Endore’s original typescript from Lorne Bair Rare Books (Catalog 19, no. 84). Here is their description:

Manuscript and finished pamphlet for one of Endore’s scarcest works, an indictment of the Los Angeles Police Department following the shooting death of an unarmed 17-year-old Mexican boy, Augustin Salcido, on March 10, 1948. The subsequent trial (which Endore discusses in great detail) resulted in the exoneration of LAPD officer William J. Keyes, and was considered a major blow to the nascent Chicano-rights movement. The case became a cause celebre for left-wing groups in the Los Angeles region. Endore (best known for his 1933 novel The Werewolf of Paris), maintained a lifelong affiliation with the Communist Party, though he managed to largely escape the Red Scare of the McCarthy era. He generally resisted overt political themes in his writing, the current work and a few other political pamphlets being the exceptions.

Justice for Salcido has long been a scarce and sought-after work in the Endore canon. Side-by-side comparison reveals significant differences between the manuscript and the published version, including the elision of an entire preliminary section and the toning down of Endore’s references to LAPD officers, who are frequently described as “psychos” and “sadists” in the manuscript (in the published version, they become “blackshirts” and “fascists”). A significant manuscript from an important, if under-recognized, American novelist.

Thanks to Lorne Bair Rare Books for permission to share their description.

– MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian

Endore, S. Guy, 1900-1970. Justice for Salcido [mimeographed typescript, 1948?].


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